Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I was the oldest of five children. My harried mother used to get me to entertain the younger ones by telling them stories. They wouldn’t accept the same story over and over, so I had to be creative, inventing new characters and plots that they would find entertaining.
When and why did you begin writing? I started writing in grade school. I still have a very short story I wrote in first grade. It went like this: “I like to roller skate. I can roller skate very fast. I can roller skate very good.” I illustrated it with a drawing of myself roller-skating. Okay, it’s a little lacking in imagination, but I was only six.
How long have you been writing? Too long. I should be way more famous by now.
When did you first know you could be a writer? It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be a writer. The question was whether I could be any good at it. Could I write anything readers would like? Now that I have written stuff readers said they liked, I still ask myself the question with every new piece of writing. Will they like it?
What was your journey as a writer? I was an academic for many years, so I wrote journal articles, grant proposals, training manuals, etc. at work. Outside work I wrote a couple of popular nonfiction self-help books, one on stress-management and the other on communication between adults and their parents. All that time I wanted to try writing fiction, but I worried that I’d never sell it. At one point I had an agent who told me that selling fiction is next to impossible. But over the years I learned a lot about the publishing industry, and I had my own business, so when digital printing and internet bookstores came along, I realized I could publish and sell a novel through my own business. So I wrote and published Too Near the Edge and its sequel Too Far Under, and now the third in the series, Too Many Secrets.
What is your writing process? Even when I’m writing fiction, I’m obsessed with facts. I do a lot of plotting, outlining and research before I start. And I write each character’s backstory. I spend even more time on research as I write the story, because I like to have every detail as accurate as possible. For example, if I’m going to write about someone picking a lock, I find a site on the internet that gives me details of how to do it. Sometimes I end up spending hours researching details that end up being only a few sentences in the story.
Have you developed a specific writing style? Probably, but I’m too close to my writing to see that. I expect my readers would be better able to describe my writing style than I am. For fiction, I like writing in the first person, but I’m thinking of trying to write a novel in the third person with several different point-of-view characters.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? I spent years writing professional newsletters where each article couldn’t be more than about 500 words. So I got very good at cutting extraneous words and sentences.
Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG
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